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I've heard the word strealish (or streelish) used to describe someone with a lost or wan look or someone unkempt or untidy.

I know it's an Irishism, but what is the origin of the word and what did it originally mean?

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When I was growing up, my mother always told us our hair was "strealish," meaning messy. It was a term she learned from her own mother, who was from Ireland. The only time I ever encountered the word outside of our immediate family was in the Irish novel "At Swim Two Boys." –  user45684 Jun 8 '13 at 17:46

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The OED says a streel or sthreel is an untidy woman or a slut.

Etymology: < Irish s(t)raoill(e) untidy or awkward person; compare straille wench or untidy

I await with interest the male equivalent: or are all Irishmen impeccably turned out?

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I am living proof that not all Irishmen are impeccably turned out. Thanks. –  Binary Worrier Nov 28 '11 at 12:15

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